Tanzania

A2Z Tanzania Map and Statistics

Micronutrient deficiencies account for a sizable proportion of the disease burden in Tanzania. However, large-scale vitamin A supplementation has already contributed to improved health indicators. The 2004/05 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey found an under-five mortality rate of 112 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to a rate of 147 five years ago. This decline parallels high vitamin A coverage.

Sustainable Vitamin A Supplementation

While Tanzania has achieved high vitamin A supplementation coverage over the past few years, there is concern that this achievement is fragile because of decentralization. A2Z is supporting national, zonal, regional, and district health teams to institutionalize twice-yearly distributions through ongoing advocacy and routine planning and budgeting. This activity is conducted in collaboration with the National Program for Extension of Tools and Strategies, the Tanzania Essential Health Interventions Project, Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Center (TFNC), and UNICEF. To foster sustainable vitamin A supplementation, the A2Z project is supporting behavior change communication through community workers and a popular radio serial. Based on information gathered on sustainability indicators by TFNC with support of A2Z and HKI, those districts that have not yet integrated funding for vitamin A supplementation in their plans are receiving additional technical support. Several resources developed in Tanzania are available to ensure program sustainability.

Zinc Treatment for Children with Diarrhea
With advocacy from A2Z/HKI and other donors, the Government of Tanzania in December 2006 adopted a policy for the use of zinc for the treatment of diarrhea. A2Z/HKI provided technical support to the National IMCI coordinator to incorporate zinc therapy as part of diarrhea management and developed modified IMCI guidelines. Zinc treatment and low osmolarity solution oral rehydration salts (ORS) have been incorporated into the National Standard Therapeutic Guidelines. The project facilitated formative research to learn about the health-seeking practices of the community around diarrhea by Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre and Johns Hopkins University. The formative research also tested the acceptability of zinc treatment for diarrhea among mothers and caretakers. The findings of the study are expected to be used to assist in the development of health worker training modules and behavior change communication materials for use by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the community.